Friday, October 29, 2010

Innovation Comes from Comprehensive Review

“Innovation and Technology: The Path to Market Leaders” was the topic of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs meeting on October 26 in Chicago. Kudos to an amazing panel of experts who spoke on the compelling need for innovation to compete in today’s global marketplace as well as ways to be innovative. The key take-away -- a challenge to business leaders to think about innovation outside of the new product development box and foster innovation in distribution platforms, promotional tactics, processes of current products and services and customer experiences. It’s apparent that like marketing, innovation has gone holistic.

Farhan Yasin, Chief Operating Officer, International at Groupon, outlined how they took the age-old promotional pull tool - the coupon - and through innovation at the intermediary level developed a service that delivers customers to businesses in local markets. Here’s how it works. Groupon partners with businesses in the local market to deliver a “groupon,” a coupon provided via the Internet to a collective group within that market, to motivate the consumer to visit the business and take advantage of the promotional offer. Groupon serves as an intermediary for the business in a very novel and unique way.

So where to begin? Using Blue Ocean Strategy’s Four Actions Framework can establish a customer-driven starting point for an innovation effort. Through the Four Actions Framework, managers look at their industry to determine:
· Which factors are taken for granted and can be eliminated?
· Which factors should be reduced well below the standard?
· Which factors should be raised well above the standard?
· Which factors could be created that have never been offered?

As businesses research the marketplace to answer theses four questions, they build a comprehensive base on all the major marketing activities open to innovation. Is your company innovative? What is the framework you use to BE innovative? Isn’t it worth it to look at innovation as more than new product development?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

HeimannHills Assists Unilever to Advance with Strategy Inculcation

This past Spring, in the fast-paced alpha city of Singapore, HeimannHills served as a partner for the International Association of Business Communicators in aligning internal communication employees at Unilever in the Asia, Africa, Middle East and Thailand region. Employees came from 8 countries – Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, UAE and Singapore – to become inculcated with Unilever’s business strategy, corporate policies, standards and culture and to bring all up to an externally recognized global standard of strategic communication and ability, the Accredited Business Communicator.

The development and accreditation program was accomplished through a series of workshops and virtual training modules through the course of 10 months that culminated in the final week-long development and credential exam administration in Singapore. Media training, ethics, corporate social responsibility and integrated marketing communication were just a few of the skill sessions. Leadership development and planning workshops resulted in each employee developing a go-forward plan for their country office.

Early measurement and results indicate a unified, synergistic approach that has benefited Unilever as a multi-national company and enhanced employee performance multi-fold. Imagine the increased value Unilever will realize as this inculcation really delivers alignment with plan implementation?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Social Media Impacts Local Political Campaign

The HeimannHills Marketing Group had the opportunity to work with Desiree Grode in her campaign race for Chicago Cook County Board of Commissioners. Desiree’s major competition was the incumbent, with a large campaign budget.

The primary objective for our campaign was to communicate Desiree’s positions and successes to the right messengers (influencers). That’s because the right messengers that share the initial messages with the greatest credibility and velocity, deliver the message while it’s still fresh, new, and worthy of sharing.

Reaching the right messengers with social media tools would be essential to a successful campaign. One of our initial campaign tactics involved identifying the right messengers – people who care passionately about a better local government, and winning over those who would spread our campaign message.

To do this we used Twitter to identify and engage people who most likely would care about Desiree’s campaign. For example, shortly after Desiree was endorsed by a State Representative and Alderman, we followed their followers on Twitter and then Tweeted them about the endorsements, winning some of their supporters. This type of targeted communication hasn’t been available before.

We also used trackable URLs to learn what parts of our messages were resonating. For example, the “Where to Vote” link on the campaign website was one of the most popular links, followed by the Chicago Tribune editorial endorsement link and then the Chicago Sun-Times editorial endorsement link. This type of feedback enabled us to create Email and Twitter communications that were important to our messengers.

We were successful in achieving 2nd out of 4 candidates. This was Desiree’s first political campaign, and social media was a key success factor. In the past, a candidate needed a much larger campaign budget to finance a costly direct mail and television campaign.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

CITCA is a Unique Collaborative Association

A couple of Fridays ago, the Chicago International Trade Commissioners’ Association (CITCA) held its friends’ and members’ holiday pot luck party. This wonderful affair brought forth favorite national dishes from all who attended. We brought cookies – oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip– the U.S. grab-as-you-go dessert.
While the food was absolutely delightful the most amazing thing about this association is that it is unique as an overarching-trade association for trade groups who usually view each other as competitors. Very few other markets have a group where trade commissioners, who primarily promote trade with their own country, come together to meet and network with trade counterparts from other countries. What an innovative and collaborative effort in market development. It’s good for trade commissioners, their countries and the Midwest. And it’s happening here in Chicago, home of HeimannHills Marketing Group.

Monday, January 11, 2010

US 2010 Census Data Key to Accuracy

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts its count of every citizen and noncitizen residing in the U.S. The data gathered becomes the base consumer data for U.S. marketing and communication efforts. When accurate data is gathered these activities are more effective and efficient.
Many people are hesitant to share their personal information due to concerns that their information may be shared with other government agencies such as Immigration or the IRS, and they will be subject to some sort of unsettling scrutiny. However, by law the census cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone, including other agencies and law enforcement bodies.
The sole purpose of the census is to produce statistics on people residing in the U.S. The U.S. Census is devoting tremendous resources to increasing awareness of the privacy and confidentiality nature of the census in the hopes of increasing the accuracy of the census statistics.
Let’s spread the word on participation when those forms arrive March 15-17 so the stats generated give marketers and communicators an accurate representation.